By Festus Ahon
DELTA State Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof Patrick Muoboghare, Wednesday gave reasons for the upgrade of the College of Education, Agbor, Anwai Campus of the Delta State University and the Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro to full fledged Universities.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had on Tuesday sent three executive bills to the State House of Assembly, seeking legislative backing for the upgrade of the three institutions to degree awarding Universities.
Once the bills sail through, the College of Education, Agbor, would now be known as Delta State University of Education, Agbor, then the Delta State University, Anwai Campus, would be Delta State University of Science and Agriculture, Anwai and Delta State Polytechnic Ozoro, to Delta State University of Science and Technology, Ozoro.
Muoboghare who spoke to newsmen in Asaba, explained that the proposed upgrade was to reduce cost in the management of the tertiary educational institutions across the state and to create more admission spaces in the university system.
The Higher Education Commissioner who was flanked by the State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, said the upgrade was also an attempt to adopt the policy of the Federal Government to deliberately phase out Higher National Diploma programme, adding that the overall objective was to harvest quality graduates as dividends from the state government’s investment in education.
He said: “We have decided to establish these three institutions because we want to put our money where we would get dividends. Dividends not by way of money but by way of quality graduates”.
Muoboghare maintained that the state-owned three Colleges of Education in Agbor, Warri and Mosogar has a combined students population of 2, 888 and staff strength of 1,893 with monthly wage of N457 million.
He said: “That leaves you with a staff-student ratio of one staff to an average of 1.5 students. To us, that is wasteful expenditure. Our children are not too interested in the NCE programme again, we are not going to conscript people to take the programme but the way it is we are spending N457 million monthly on empty lecture halls.
“And we are still building structures there. The alternative is to shut them down but certainly we will not do that. If we upgrade one to a university status, the others would continue to run the normal NCE programme, and the students will have somewhere to aspire to for degree programme”.
Speaking on the upgrade of the Delta State University, DELSU campus, Anwai to the proposed University of Science and Agriculture, he said the campus at the moment was an eyesore despite being at the state capital, Asaba.
Muoboghare said: “DELSU sits on three campuses of Abraka, Oleh and Anwai. Unfortunately, the Anwai campus is in the state capital, Asaba. As much as possible I avoid taking my visitors to Anwai campus because it is an eyesore, it is not befitting of a university campus at all.
“Yet the public relations point in any state is the state capital. Having that place there as a campus is unacceptable. That is why we decided to upgrade the campus to the University of Agriculture. Ordinarily agriculture does not just stand, it is an applied science.
“So when you put a faculty of agriculture, there is no chemistry, no physics, it is actually waste. Hence a full fledge University of Science and Agriculture”.